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A clash for a piece of land in the Chobe district between the Pandamatenga community and the Chobe Land Board (CLB) is counted amongst a series of cases before the courts of law relating to land.
Just recently the High Court in Gaborone set October 2019 as the month in which it will decide whether a piece of land known as Kgale Forest Farms belongs to the Bamalete Land board or the Gamalete Trust which belongs to the Balete tribesmen.
Up north, the Batawana community have also been battling for ownership of the Moremi Game Reserve and Maun Educational Park with the Tawana Land board.
Last week, the Pandamatenga community took Chobe Land board to court over the allocation of 42 Small Agricultural Holdings at Mahabapi in Pandamatenga.
Chairman of Chobe Land Board- Johane Chenjekwa confirmed that the Small Agricultural Holdings are part of the Pandamatenga Infrastructure Development project which is meant to develop appropriate water control or drainage systems and access road network within Pandamatenga farms. The government of Botswana entered into an agreement with the African Development Bank to finance the project.
Chenjekwa said the intensifying tension is a result of the 2 500 hectare land that was developed under an agreement into Small Agricultural Holdings. He said the land was demarcated into 42 Small Agricultural Holdings ranging from 25 hectares, with the biggest being 113 hectares.
‘It was during the implementation of the Pandamatenga Infrastructure Development that it was identified that there were already people whose rights where within the area earmarked for demarcation of the Small Agricultural Holdings. However the land board was ready to deal with that issue in an appropriate way,” he said.
“The land board had resolved that allocation of the 42 small holdings at Mahabapi should be done through public tender as opposed to Pandamatenga Community’s proposal that they be reserved solely for them which was contrary to existing legislation governing the Administration and Management of Tribal Land in Botswana,” Chenjekwa added.
He said the community has since contested the land board decision to allocate the farms through public tender. He further said the matter was heard by the Francistown Land Tribunal which concluded to dismiss the Community’s appeal and allowed the Land Board to continue with the proposed tender. Chenjekwa said the Pandamatenga Community has since appealed the decision to the High Court.